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Wildtrack: A Novel of Suspense

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Nick Sandman's spine was shattered by a bullet in the Falklands. He has no money and no prospects, only a dream of sailing far away from his troubles on his boat, Sycorax. But Sycorax is as crippled as he is, and to make her seaworthy again, Nick must strike a devil's bargain with egomaniacal TV star Tony Bannister. Signing on to the crew of Bannister's powerful ocean race Nick Sandman's spine was shattered by a bullet in the Falklands. He has no money and no prospects, only a dream of sailing far away from his troubles on his boat, Sycorax. But Sycorax is as crippled as he is, and to make her seaworthy again, Nick must strike a devil's bargain with egomaniacal TV star Tony Bannister. Signing on to the crew of Bannister's powerful ocean racer, Wildtrack, Nick is expected to help sail her to victory. But the despised celebrity has made some powerful enemies who will stop at nothing for revenge. . . .


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Nick Sandman's spine was shattered by a bullet in the Falklands. He has no money and no prospects, only a dream of sailing far away from his troubles on his boat, Sycorax. But Sycorax is as crippled as he is, and to make her seaworthy again, Nick must strike a devil's bargain with egomaniacal TV star Tony Bannister. Signing on to the crew of Bannister's powerful ocean race Nick Sandman's spine was shattered by a bullet in the Falklands. He has no money and no prospects, only a dream of sailing far away from his troubles on his boat, Sycorax. But Sycorax is as crippled as he is, and to make her seaworthy again, Nick must strike a devil's bargain with egomaniacal TV star Tony Bannister. Signing on to the crew of Bannister's powerful ocean racer, Wildtrack, Nick is expected to help sail her to victory. But the despised celebrity has made some powerful enemies who will stop at nothing for revenge. . . .

30 review for Wildtrack: A Novel of Suspense

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    A book about sailing and boats which are not usually my interest, but as I am a big fan of Bernard Cornwell's historical novels. I thought Id give this one a chance. I quite liked it and finished it over a weekend The hero of the book, Captain Nick Sandman wounded in the Falklands War and told he will never walk again by doctors is a stubborn man, and his only wish is to sail his boat Sycorax to New Zealand. The boat is impounded and a well known wealthy media mogul, Tony Bannister, wants to make A book about sailing and boats which are not usually my interest, but as I am a big fan of Bernard Cornwell's historical novels. I thought Id give this one a chance. I quite liked it and finished it over a weekend The hero of the book, Captain Nick Sandman wounded in the Falklands War and told he will never walk again by doctors is a stubborn man, and his only wish is to sail his boat Sycorax to New Zealand. The boat is impounded and a well known wealthy media mogul, Tony Bannister, wants to make a film of Nick's story. \ Soon he comes up against an Arab American billionaire , Kassoluli, who wants to destroy Bannister who he believes killed his daughter Good plot, good characterization, especially of Nick and his love interest Angela, and well paced

  2. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    A high-spirited and engaging novel, as one would expect from the author. This marks the last of Cornwell's sailing thrillers that I had to read (following CRACKDOWN, SCOUNDREL, SEA LORD and STORMCHILD), although conversely it was the first written of the quintet. And it's a cracker of a read, with an unpredictable storyline, carefully-crafted characters and all of the mystery, suspense and tension that one expects from the genre. I've found each of these five books to be very different in feel, m A high-spirited and engaging novel, as one would expect from the author. This marks the last of Cornwell's sailing thrillers that I had to read (following CRACKDOWN, SCOUNDREL, SEA LORD and STORMCHILD), although conversely it was the first written of the quintet. And it's a cracker of a read, with an unpredictable storyline, carefully-crafted characters and all of the mystery, suspense and tension that one expects from the genre. I've found each of these five books to be very different in feel, mainly because they take place in different oceans around the world, with CRACKDOWN set in the Caribbean, STORMCHILD off the coast of South America, etc. WILDTRACK shares similarities - and a supporting character, George Cullen - with SEA LORD, but again, it's very different in tone. Although this isn't a historical novel, WILDTRACK sees Cornwell at the top of his game. As a story, it's impossible to put down once you get into it, and I particularly liked the murkiness of the back story; no easy answers or clearly-defined heroes and villains here, just truths and half-truths and barely-hinted-at truths. It feels realistic, and yet it still blows you away as a thriller. I'm sorry to see the back of these maritime thrillers, but I have a few more series to enjoy from this author yet so I'm not too worried.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steven Toby

    Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you I nearly gave up on this book about halfway through chapter one but I am now glad I didn’t. There used to be a concept of national character (since rejected by most people because it can easily descend into racism), and there is certainly a strain of that in the opening of this book. Nick, the protagonist, is not only handicapped badly by a wound sustained in the Falklands, but when he manages to walk enough to inspect the boa Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you I nearly gave up on this book about halfway through chapter one but I am now glad I didn’t. There used to be a concept of national character (since rejected by most people because it can easily descend into racism), and there is certainly a strain of that in the opening of this book. Nick, the protagonist, is not only handicapped badly by a wound sustained in the Falklands, but when he manages to walk enough to inspect the boat he’s planning to cruise, he finds it has been vandalized and there doesn’t seem to be a realistic way to get it back in functional condition without making a sordid deal with the villains who did it. He descends into paranoia and rightly so. I couldn’t see how this opening could come out well, but having read so many of the author’s historical novels I know he’s an expert at creating a satisfying ending. Also, as I got deeper into the book I discovered that he knows the sailing world well. No terminology mistakes, each boat behaves as you’d expect, wind and tide work their will and have to be used to get where a skipper wants to go. I’m glad I persevered. So, I recommend this book to people who have owned boats especially, but anyone who can get past that depressing opening should get a charge out of it!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    This is the first book I've ever read by Bernard Cornwell and I really enjoyed it. I know he's known for writing historical fiction and this series of unrelated, non-series, thrillers are a little bit different for him. They're also somewhat different for me which is one of the reasons I tried this out; and glad I did. Interesting characters, a mystery that holds out for a surprisingly long time combined with the nautical and coastal setting made for a good experience as my first novel by him. I' This is the first book I've ever read by Bernard Cornwell and I really enjoyed it. I know he's known for writing historical fiction and this series of unrelated, non-series, thrillers are a little bit different for him. They're also somewhat different for me which is one of the reasons I tried this out; and glad I did. Interesting characters, a mystery that holds out for a surprisingly long time combined with the nautical and coastal setting made for a good experience as my first novel by him. I'll be reading more in the future.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rob Trans

    Although after starting this book, I expected to dislike it, I found in the end it to be a good read. Sailing plays a big part in the story, so it will help the reader to be familiar with the nomenclature. Captain Nick Sandman, winner of the Victoria Cross (undeservedly in his estimation) in the Falklands War starts out the in the book as a somewhat surly character. But he can be forgiven this as he was badly wounded in the war and has been told he will never walk again. Since his love is the s Although after starting this book, I expected to dislike it, I found in the end it to be a good read. Sailing plays a big part in the story, so it will help the reader to be familiar with the nomenclature. Captain Nick Sandman, winner of the Victoria Cross (undeservedly in his estimation) in the Falklands War starts out the in the book as a somewhat surly character. But he can be forgiven this as he was badly wounded in the war and has been told he will never walk again. Since his love is the sea and wind sailing, he finds this unacceptable and determines to prove the doctors wrong. Sandman is a rare individual who knows who he is and who he is not. His father (who is in prison for white collar crimes), brother and sister are all successful at business, but Sandman knows he has neither the drive nor the intelligence to succeed there. He is further hampered by actually believing in Queen, country, and honour. After mostly regaining his ability to walk (although he is plagued by a leg that fails him from time to time), he sets out to recover his sailboat the Sycorax. He finds his dock occupied by someone else's boat and finally finds the Sycorax a stripped derelict hauled up on a bank among the trees. He discovers that all of this was done by a wealthy media star's boat captain. He challenges them, but finds their money will prevent him from getting proper compensation. Instead they offer to help him restore the boat if he will let them make a movie about the process of restoring the boat and recovering from his wound as well as his war experiences. He hates the idea, but sees no other way of getting his boat back in shape. This is especially true since he does not want to hold down a regular job, which he sees as losing his freedom. The filming is a tense and unenjoyable experience for him, especially since he lusts after and frequently clashes with the producer, Angela. Along the way we find certain types of women are his Achilles heel. He lets them manipulate him. Angela and he start an affair. The other main plot line is the media star's wife died under suspicious circumstances and her father believes, but can't prove, the media star murdered her. Using another woman, he tries to manipulate Sandman into aiding him in his quest for vengeance. He declines and in the end tries to help the producer who is now the media star's new wife to prevent the murder of her husband. This entails taking Sycorax to sea to try and intercept the husband during a race. Mayhem ensues. No really dull spots. The writing is Cornwell's normal high quality. The characters he included were well fleshed out and interesting. Worth reading.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gerald Matzke

    This book is one of Bernard Cornwall’s sailing novels. It is a complicated story of deception, revenge and ambition running in contrast to a desire for truth from a decorated war hero who simply wanted to be whole again and live his dream of sailing the open seas after an extended period of physical therapy following his war injuries. It is a great story that is filled with a typical assault on the senses that is a hallmark of Cornwell’s writing. The only problem I had with this book was the us This book is one of Bernard Cornwall’s sailing novels. It is a complicated story of deception, revenge and ambition running in contrast to a desire for truth from a decorated war hero who simply wanted to be whole again and live his dream of sailing the open seas after an extended period of physical therapy following his war injuries. It is a great story that is filled with a typical assault on the senses that is a hallmark of Cornwell’s writing. The only problem I had with this book was the use of sailing terms by the writer. He rattles off terms that would be understood by an experienced sailor but for someone who has never been near a real yacht, it seemed like a foreign language. Fortunately it did not really detract from getting swept up in the wind and the waves on the high seas.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    I read this back in 1999 when it first came out and long before I discovered that Bernard Cornwell writes an excellent historical book. This one is about sailing, a man crippled in the Falkland war and his beat up boat that he hopes to race again one day. It is quite different from his other books and it wasn't until I saw it listed on Goodreads that I realized that I had even read it. Not that it wasn't memorable as I am able to recall large chunks in the storyline. I will add the book to my li I read this back in 1999 when it first came out and long before I discovered that Bernard Cornwell writes an excellent historical book. This one is about sailing, a man crippled in the Falkland war and his beat up boat that he hopes to race again one day. It is quite different from his other books and it wasn't until I saw it listed on Goodreads that I realized that I had even read it. Not that it wasn't memorable as I am able to recall large chunks in the storyline. I will add the book to my list of re-reads perhaps for 2014.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    I recently saw somewhere that the amazingly prolific writer of historical novels Bernard Cornwell has recently written some "thrillers" set in the modern day and using sailing as a backdrop. I thought I'd try one. This is the first, and the best part of it is the beautiful, and I guess accurate, presentation of sailing a small boat in the unforgiving North Atlantic. It demonstrates the most heartfelt love of sailing I've read since Patrick O'Brian. The plot was OK, if a little contrived, and the I recently saw somewhere that the amazingly prolific writer of historical novels Bernard Cornwell has recently written some "thrillers" set in the modern day and using sailing as a backdrop. I thought I'd try one. This is the first, and the best part of it is the beautiful, and I guess accurate, presentation of sailing a small boat in the unforgiving North Atlantic. It demonstrates the most heartfelt love of sailing I've read since Patrick O'Brian. The plot was OK, if a little contrived, and the characters were a bit better than stereotypes.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Eugenea Pollock

    I enjoy the plot and pace of this author's work, so I have read a number of his books aloud to my husband while on road trips. I have found his sailing stories to be his least successful, with this single exception. The character of Nick Sandman, wounded warrior and VC recipient from the Falklands conflict, is well drawn and extremely appealing; and the mystery--who did it, was there even a murder--kept my interest throughout. I enjoy the plot and pace of this author's work, so I have read a number of his books aloud to my husband while on road trips. I have found his sailing stories to be his least successful, with this single exception. The character of Nick Sandman, wounded warrior and VC recipient from the Falklands conflict, is well drawn and extremely appealing; and the mystery--who did it, was there even a murder--kept my interest throughout.

  10. 4 out of 5

    GCScott-Malden

    Marine adventure with twists Bernard Cornwell certainly knows about sailing. He has woven his knowledge of the sea into an exciting story with some unexpected ted twists in the glamourous worlds of TV and business. His main character is a wounded Falkland s hero who has to overcome his own disability and contend with all manner of machinations in a world with which he is not familiar. A ripping yarn that is well written in clear, concise prose.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    A terrific adventure/thriller with great characters as I have come to expect from Mr. Cornwell. I particularly enjoyed the sailing scenes. They made me feel like I was on Sycorax with Angela and Nick. I had complete sympathy with Angela, who was trying to maneuver a boat she was a novice on and not doing too well. Great writing!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alasandra Alawine

    Enjoyed the book but found it slow going in spots. My favorite character is the cat Vicky.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Richard West

    I got this back when it first came out in paperback in 2008 and it sat on the shelf for 10 years before I got around to reading it. I should have waited another 10 years. Bernard Cornwell is an excellent writer - one of my favorites as a matter of fact - and this earlier work - first published in 1988 - gives the reader a look at the writer just finding his way - in training, if you want to look at it from that point-of-view. It's a good thing Cornwell decided to go with historical fiction since t I got this back when it first came out in paperback in 2008 and it sat on the shelf for 10 years before I got around to reading it. I should have waited another 10 years. Bernard Cornwell is an excellent writer - one of my favorites as a matter of fact - and this earlier work - first published in 1988 - gives the reader a look at the writer just finding his way - in training, if you want to look at it from that point-of-view. It's a good thing Cornwell decided to go with historical fiction since this novel just doesn't cut it. It's impossible to really care for the main character/narrator or any of the other characters in the book. There's no way you can feel sympathy for Nick Sandman, the main character, because the guy is a loser. Ditto all the other characters as well. You find yourself thinking when they say or do something, "dumbass, normal people wouldn't act like that (or say that)" - just no feeling at all for the characters. I'm looking forward to Mr. Cornwell's next book since it goes back to what he does best - historical fiction. This book is one for the die-hard Cornwell fan or for someone who just wants to read something that won't require much thought.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    3.5 Wildtracks is a love story as much as it is a suspense/action novel. This book is filled with complex themes and interesting characters. I think I could write a lengthy paper on these complexities. Even though Wildtracks is the “other” boat, the heart of the story is Sycorax. The underlying theme of the survival story is the passionate relationship our narrator, Captain Nick Sandman, VC has with his 38’ Ketch, Sycorax. From the very beginning, our narrator tells us how the dreams of sailing o 3.5 Wildtracks is a love story as much as it is a suspense/action novel. This book is filled with complex themes and interesting characters. I think I could write a lengthy paper on these complexities. Even though Wildtracks is the “other” boat, the heart of the story is Sycorax. The underlying theme of the survival story is the passionate relationship our narrator, Captain Nick Sandman, VC has with his 38’ Ketch, Sycorax. From the very beginning, our narrator tells us how the dreams of sailing on his boat motivated his recovery from the military actions that destroyed his body and earned him the Victorian Cross. Windtracks has mysteries, suspense, and some nice twists along the way. This book is heavy on background so I felt like I truly knew a lot of these characters. I adore shady characters who aren’t really “bad” guys. This book is also heavy on relationships which makes the actions understandable. I liked Nick’s journey with his relationship with his father and the avoided realizations. There is also no lack of action and all good action stories need a chase scene (or two). Chase scenes with boats are chilling and exciting with often unexpected consequences. Some of the events in this novel are a little too convenient but Cornwell does not disappoint.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ernest Godfrey

    My kind of book There are millions of writers but very few if any to match this man. One of my favourite books also by BC is Sealord I recommend you read it. It is similar but only similar to this one and they will remain always books to be read and re-read.I am not a sailor don't know the sharp end from the blunt end but that only seems to add to the pleasure in reading this book. The author obviously is a committed sailor and to some extent I envy that. Few things can be as satisfying as standi My kind of book There are millions of writers but very few if any to match this man. One of my favourite books also by BC is Sealord I recommend you read it. It is similar but only similar to this one and they will remain always books to be read and re-read.I am not a sailor don't know the sharp end from the blunt end but that only seems to add to the pleasure in reading this book. The author obviously is a committed sailor and to some extent I envy that. Few things can be as satisfying as standing in your own vessel deciding where to go next and all you have to pick from is the whole world. On the other hand I don't know for certain he sails, after all he didn't live through the middle ages but writes of that with such gifted clarity. Well written sir, and thank you.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bennington

    Nick Sandman, VC, owns a boat Sycorax which is his pride and joy but needs a lot of work doing to it. In order to earn the money for this, he agrees to do a TV story about his life, working with Tony Bannister who is a TV star with a shady past. Tony is a boat racer and wants Nick to crew for him. Tony's wife was drowned at sea in a race which allows the development of another thread of the story (which I won't go into here because I don't want to spoil it!) When all these various elements come Nick Sandman, VC, owns a boat Sycorax which is his pride and joy but needs a lot of work doing to it. In order to earn the money for this, he agrees to do a TV story about his life, working with Tony Bannister who is a TV star with a shady past. Tony is a boat racer and wants Nick to crew for him. Tony's wife was drowned at sea in a race which allows the development of another thread of the story (which I won't go into here because I don't want to spoil it!) When all these various elements come together they make for a great story. If you don't know a lot about sailing (which I don't) you can also do a bit of "detective work" as to what is happening when Bernard Cornwell gives details about the sailing of a boat! The story is a great read!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julia Herdman

    I picked this book up from a charity shop and read it in a couple of days. The story follows the trials and tribulations of an army officer who won a VC in the Falklands War. Seriously injured this former soldier is on his uppers. All he wants is to leave England and set to sea in his boat Sycorax. When he finds his boat it's in ruins and he sets about restoring it with the help of a TV show but there's a dark side to the TV mogul and soon our hero is in deep trouble. There's a love interest or I picked this book up from a charity shop and read it in a couple of days. The story follows the trials and tribulations of an army officer who won a VC in the Falklands War. Seriously injured this former soldier is on his uppers. All he wants is to leave England and set to sea in his boat Sycorax. When he finds his boat it's in ruins and he sets about restoring it with the help of a TV show but there's a dark side to the TV mogul and soon our hero is in deep trouble. There's a love interest or two and an ex-wife. As you'd expect with Bernard Cornwell the violence when it comes is believable but all ends well too. It was a pleasure to read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Peter Moyes

    Good story with twists and turns as would be expected from the author of Sharpe. I admit to stopping reading Cornwell in about 1998 as I was no longer excited by the writing so it was interesting coming back after 20 years. A war damaged soldier has a dream to sail his boat to the Southern Ocean but to get it seaworthy again he has to sail some very troubled waters with some very ugly characters.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Liz Chapman

    I enjoyed reading this book but it was not one of Bernard's best a bit slow in places and a bit dated . It was an easy read like a film and I liked the fact that the man didn't get his girl. How much someone with the injuries that the main character Nick Could do as described in the book , without shattering his damaged spine was questionable. I enjoyed reading this book but it was not one of Bernard's best a bit slow in places and a bit dated . It was an easy read like a film and I liked the fact that the man didn't get his girl. How much someone with the injuries that the main character Nick Could do as described in the book , without shattering his damaged spine was questionable.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ram

    a page turner from Bernard Cornwell, more famous for his Sharpe series historical fiction. Nick is a VC hero from Falklands in a shattered shape, his father in jail for bankruptcy, his ex-wife left him for someone more moneyed, his sailing boat in tatters with no money to spare and caught between two egoistic billionaires in a fight to finish. Lot of sailing terminology though.

  21. 4 out of 5

    JIM FARRIOR

    Great book. A lot of action and twist. The main character is a military guy with major injuries. One of the many plots is the return of his life back to semi-normal and showing the drive to overcome adversity. Is one desire is to get his yacht back in working condition and he uncovers many obstacles on his way. Very enjoyable read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    John Taussig

    Good read A little depressing but enjoyable story. Stubborn hero - handicapped with injuries - still able to do an awful amount of work but written with his injury in mind not to be able to do too much. Nice balance and interesting sailing action.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Will Macmillan Jones

    Wild ride The sailing scenes here are hard, wild, and believeable. Unfortunately a couple ok f the major characters were much less so and that spoiked, for me, an otherwise enjoyable book

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joan Alison Croasdale

    A real treat Everything I would expect from this author. Villains you can really hate. Heroes you want to kick up the backside! Great tale of loyalty and betrayal. An entertaining yarn.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nige

    Compared to Cornwells superb historical novels I found this a bit turgid and dated. The plot lumbers around quite slowly but just interestingly enough to keep ones interest. The extensive use of technical sailing terms is off putting and irrelevant to the general reader.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jeff allsopp

    Good holiday read The story flowed but it did not grip me, there wasn't enough depth to the characters, perfect for a holiday read. Good holiday read The story flowed but it did not grip me, there wasn't enough depth to the characters, perfect for a holiday read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I liked this book. I liked the way it was written. There were no long, unnecessary descriptions of the environment the main character was in. For me, this meant that the story flowed faster.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Enjoyed this. I've only read his more historical novels previously and this is far more current. Still a soldier as the main character, but his war was rather more recent. Enjoyed this. I've only read his more historical novels previously and this is far more current. Still a soldier as the main character, but his war was rather more recent.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    I loved that the story took a turn every time I thought it was going to be predictable. And as a sailor I appreciated the accurate descriptions of sailing and sailing in different weather conditions.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nate Hendrix

    This was not as good as his Sharpe series, but still a good read. Learned a lot about sailboats. I am working my way through all of his books, I haven't been disappointed yet. This was not as good as his Sharpe series, but still a good read. Learned a lot about sailboats. I am working my way through all of his books, I haven't been disappointed yet.

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